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Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Farro

This recipe puts a healthy spin on Italian wedding soup. White pasta is replaced with hearty whole-grain farro, and meatballs are lightened up with a lean turkey meat base. Generous handfuls of vitamin K-rich spinach add a healthy dose of color and potent bone-strengthening benefits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (7 1/4 oz./230 g) farro, rinsed
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) water
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 lb. (500 g) ground turkey
  • 6 Tbs. (1/2 oz./15 g) whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 oz. (125 g) spinach leaves

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the farro and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, panko, cheese, egg, parsley and lemon zest. Season well with salt and pepper. Using 1 Tbs. of the turkey mixture at a time, form into small meatballs and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 12 minutes.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the broth, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the turkey meatballs, farro and spinach and cook just until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper, ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014).